Rain set to provide relief for NSW firefighters but fires still burn

International firefighters have been supporting both volunteer and salaried Australian firefighters. Source: Getty

Rain forecast over the next week looks set to provide relief for NSW's firefighters but authorities warn many blazes were yet to be brought under control.

The NSW Rural Fire Service is warning it will take time to extinguish many bushfires across the state even though rain looks set to provide some relief.

Parts of the state received much-needed rain on Sunday with more expected for the rest of the week.

Rain is forecast for pockets of the central and northern coasts on Monday, with thunderstorms and showers forecast for most of NSW on Thursday when up to 25mm is expected to fall on parts of the south coast.

But the RFS said many fires are yet to be contained and there were 111 fires still burning in NSW late on Sunday night.

"While it's been pleasing to hear of rain falling across parts of the state today, many of these fires will still take some time to fully contain," the RFS said on Twitter.

Air quality was again expected to be poor in Sydney after the city was blanketed by a smoky haze on Sunday.

The department of planning, industry and environment warned that it would be unhealthy for sensitive people and could cause symptoms, especially in people with heart or lung disease.

On Sunday firefighters brought under control one of the county's most damaging blazes - the Gospers Mountain fire, which has burned for two-and-a-half months northwest of Sydney.

"After lightning started the fire on October 26, it has burnt through more than 512,000 hectares across the Lithgow, Hawkesbury, Hunter Valley, Cudgegong, Blue Mountains and Central Coast local government areas," the Hawkesbury RFS said on Facebook.

"The firefighting effort has seen a range of local, interstate, federal and international agencies involved.

"Containment took longer than expected due to unfavourable weather conditions, however due to our hardworking crews, we have achieved that today.

"It is important to remember not to be complacent as there are still a few months of the bush fire season to go with some bushland that still has not been burnt."

BOM meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse said while rain would be welcome at the fire grounds, it may also bring dangers to fire-affected landscapes.

"We are looking at a couple of days in a row of some showers and thunderstorms, some of which may produce significant accumulation over those couple of days," she said.

"It will be quite welcome but there are some extra dangers and risks associated with it as the landscape is quite vulnerable with the fire damage.

A woman surveys property damage at Cobargo.
A woman surveys property damage at Cobargo.

"We've lost a lot of vegetations and there is the risk of landslips."

Across NSW on Sunday night there were 122 fires burning, but none were at emergency levels.

The Department of Defence said they would use favourable conditions over the next few days to create a 70km-long, 1km-wide firebreak in the Snowy Mountains region.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday paid tribute to 19-year-old Courtney Partridge, who died on November 29 last year after suffering an asthma attack as a result of smoke in Glen Innes in the New England region.

"The sheer sense of loss, pain, hurt, grief, frustration, fear, particularly well away from the fires where we've seen also that terrible loss of the young girl as the result of an asthma attack," Mr Morrison said.

The Cobargo Community Relief Centre is seen after the New Year's Eve bushfires.
The Cobargo Community Relief Centre is seen after the New Year's Eve bushfires.

"This has I think, created an environment where people for the first time have wanted to see a more direct involvement of the federal government in responding to these national disasters."

RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers confirmed on Sunday that 2136 NSW homes have been destroyed this fire season.

More than 1200 of those homes have burned down since New Year's Eve.

The Catholic Diocese of Sydney held a special service on Sunday for bushfire victims and drought-affect communities at St Mary's Cathedral.

Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher said many Australian priests had flocked to the south coast to assist, or were serving as army reservists.

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